09:00 pick-up from Tbilisi. First we will drive to Didgori Battle Memorial, bypassing Mtskheta and nearby villages North-East of Tbilisi. Newly paved asphalt road takes you through deciduous forest of Nichbisi valley all the way up to Didgori mountain ridge at 1,620 m asl. The monument is erected on top of the hill opening up panoramic views of surrounding fields and valleys of Shida and Kvemo Kartli regions.
Dedicated to one of the most important events in Georgian history – the Battle of Didgori (1121 A.D.), the complex is spread around impressively large area. It consists of many connecting elements, including statues of warriors, large swords planted in the ground, ceremonial columns, bell towers etc. It was during this battle, when vastly outnumbered army of famous Georgian king - David the Builder obtained a victory against Turko-Seljuks, giving a rise to the golden age of Georgian history.
After visiting the memorial, we will continue our way heading south, making several photo-stops, until reaching our next destination - Udzo monastery, located on top of the Mtatsminda ridge nearby small town of Kojori. Hidden among pine forest it makes a truly peaceful getaway from nearby capital. According to the legend, the medieval Church of St. George – which is the oldest structure in the monastery, was built by a childless man (Georgian: “Udzeo” უძეო) – as a token to god so that he would grant him a descendant.
Before reaching our journey's end – Azeula Fortress – our field cook is going to build a fire and make preparations for our farewell picnic in the forest. The fortress is located on volcanic hill, south of Kojori and requires a short hike (approx. 400 m one way and 50 m. elevation gain) followed by a climb on steep stairs. Although, your effort will be rewarded with some of the best panoramic views in the region, medieval atmosphere of the site and of course the warm meal waiting for you on the way back, before our return to Tbilisi.